Are the House Republicans about to overplay their hand?
I'm not referring to H. Res. 274, authored by Randy Forbes the co-chair of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, affirming "In God We Trust" as the official motto of the United States and encouraging its display in public buildings, schools and places.
I have no problem with this. It beats repealing Obamacare for the 40th time.
God is surely more trustworthy than other options House Republicans might have advanced, such as, "In Wall Street We Trust," "In Boehner We Trust," "In Straight Catholic Males -- Justices Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Thomas and Kennedy -- We Trust," "In Ayn Rand We Trust" or "In the Criminally Insane We Trust."
Moreover, public display of "In God We Trust," at certain public places, for example Offices of the State Department of Licensing, on the sides of Meter Maid Scooters or near Safeco Filed where the Mariners play, is likely to further my cause of promoting atheism.
I'm talking about the Ten Commandments Weekend. When I first heard of it this, I liked the idea. I thought we could observe the Ten Commandments for one weekend and then forget about them for the rest of the year. It would be similar to National Poison Prevention Week. I did object to scheduling Ten Commandments Weekend to conflict with the Kentucky Derby. I believed the Ten Commandments would be less oppressive if observed the first weekend February when sin is less rewarding.
Then I learned Ten Commandments Weekends was more serious. H. Res. 211 expresses "support for designation of the first weekend of May as Ten Commandments Weekend to recognize the significant contributions the Ten Commandments have made in shaping the principles, institutions, and national character of the United States."
Are the Republicans trying to commit political suicide? If H. Res. 211 became law, we would be hunting Republicans with dogs.
Let's start with keeping holy the Sabbath. How popular will this be once people learn that it prohibits watching NFL games on Sundays?
And then there is the proscription of bowing down to and serving graven images. Wait until scholars decide that graven images includes money.
"Thou Shalt Not Take the Name of the Lord thy God in Vain." Jesus Christ! Give me a break. I know cannot make a pejorative reference towards anyone's race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical appearance, age, hair style and absence of ironic sensibility. And now I should stop saying goddamnit?
"Thou Shalt Not Kill" will not be well received by the majority of Americans who support capital punishment. Nor will "Thou Shalt Not Steal" once taxpayers discover it applies to fudging on tax forms.
Opposition to "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor" may be the only political action on which both parties can agree. This commandment threatens the very livelihood of their key constituencies: trial lawyers, union leaders and Hollywood moguls for the Democrats; bankers, stockbrokers and climate change deniers for the Republicans.
In fact, in a recent poll, the only Commandment to receive majority approval was the part of the Tenth that forbids coveting thy neighbor's donkey. Even this result is suspect since later researchers discovered that most people surveyed thought that "covet" was a sexual act.
What is wrong with the Democrats? Why don't they give enough support to make H. Res. 211 law? They could then control both houses of Congress for decades.